Mambo vipi, (what’s up) everyone! To this you should reply, “poa” (cool!) or my personal favorite: “fresh!” Ah, Kiswahili is great fun. I am not exceedingly proficient but I’ve learned enough to consider myself an intermediate beginner. You don’t suppose I’ll find any Kiswahili classes in the Tulsa area do you? Haha
I’ve just finished reading (yet another) wonderful book: Blue Clay People by William Powers. As I probably mentioned before, the library here at Haki is incredible so I’ve had the opportunity to read tons of fiction about Africa(ns). This book that I’ve just finished follows an aid worker stationed in Liberia in 1999; the main character survives relatively horrifying experiences while reflecting (as I have) on the ethical implications of his career. Also, I’ve read several other wonderful books you should check out if you get the chance: Don’t Let’s go to the Dogs Tonight, Chanda’s Story, Parched Earth, Poisonwood Bible, and The Color Purple.
So my week has utterly flown by! I’m about to embark on a small excursion to the North, where I plan to hike the Rift Valley escarpment, drop down into the Ngorongoro crater, hang out with the Maasai, sit in on a Rwanda Criminal Tribunal court hearing (I know, how amazing), and gaze at Kilimanjaro. I can’t believe my time at Haki is nearly through, and that I’ll be on a (very enjoyable) Emirates flight home a mere 11 days from now! Today was actually my last in-office day at Haki and they had a “special farewell lunch” in my honor. I think I’m still blushing bright red from all of the too-nice things they said in the speeches- (I know, speeches!). My manager even quoted Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar...I told you these people were extremely well educated! Of course, I hope I end up a little less militant and a little more alive than Julius, but it was a wonderful sort of farewell.
I can’t believe I’ve spent over six weeks here; it’s been an incredible, incredible experience. I’m sad to leave HakiElimu but also feel as though this won’t be the end...I’ve really fallen for Africa and I absolutely plan to return. I’m so glad I came, I’m sad to be leaving, and I’m excited to be coming home soon. I suppose that’s the ideal way to be feeling at the (near) end of an adventure!
It’s the people that amaze me; I’ve met so many remarkable people who are intelligent, wise, humorous, kind, welcoming, patient, proud, friendly, energetic, and completely dedicated. I really feel like I have to step back, look at everyone around me and realize that there are truly wonderful human beings on this planet, who are doing truly wonderful things. There’s hope for us yet!
I feel like I’ve learned more in these six weeks than all the 20 years before them. Of course, I’ve also realized that this is only the beginning, and that I am still very wide-eyed and inexperienced...I suppose the only cure for that is to keep exploring!
Off to Arusha/Moshi for me, I will post again soon!